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Negotiating Salary

Businesswoman sitting at desk learning how to negotiate salary

One of the most difficult questions you will encounter during an interview is the task of negotiating salary. Many interviewers will ask you what you would accept as a starting pay instead of offering a figure at the start. As you prepare for the interview you will want to keep the inevitably of this question in mind. Many candidates are unable to properly answer any questions on salary information simply because they failed to properly prepare.

Negotiating Salary and Why you Should Take Time to Research Salary Information

Candidates often feel that it is simply not their place to make a demand about salary or benefits. The truth is that you do have a measure of say when it comes to negotiating salary. Remember, the company needs the help and if you have the proper skill level and experience there is no reason why you should not ask for a salary that will reflect your abilities.

Of course, you want to make sure that the salary you ask for is realistic. Asking for a starting pay that is too high will almost guarantee that you will not receive the job. On the other hand asking for a starting pay that is well below the average wages might result in being hired but for a salary far below one that you deserve.

This is why researching salary information is so important before you begin the interview process. You want to appear as knowledgeable as possible about the position you are applying for and knowing the average starting pay and whatever benefits may be including with that position is important. Knowing this will demonstrate your interest in the position and that you did in fact take the time to do some research before going to the first interview.

You certainly do not want to be sitting across from the interviewer when the question about salary information specifically pertaining to starting pay first crosses your mind. Do not expect the interviewer to be forth coming with any salary information. At best they may give you figure, at worst the interview will come to an end.

Researching salary information may take a little effort. You have to consider your specific region as well as your individual level of experience with the field and whatever education you may have. All these factor into the starting pay and any benefits you can realistically ask for.

While you may be able to find an average starting pay by researching on the internet you can also look to classified ads to find out what other similar companies are offering for the same position. Of course, if your previous position is the same or even similar as the one you are applying for you can simply ask the wages you were receiving at your old job.

You may or may not receive the same salary amount in this new position that you enjoyed in your previous employment. Remember, you are going to be the new hire and will have to work to establish yourself as a reliable and hardworking individual before you can enjoy any benefits or perks that you enjoyed during your previous employment.

Determine two numbers before entering the interview. These numbers will represent the lowest salary amount you will accept and what you feel is the most that you could reasonably ask for. You will want these numbers ready in case you end up negotiating about salary. By already having the lowest salary amount you are willing to accept you will be better able to negotiate.

Wait for the interviewer to bring up salary first. You do not want to seem too eager or greedy. Remember, you want to learn how to negotiate salary without losing a job offer. Remain professional and calm as you discuss salary and benefits. With the proper research and experience negotiating salary does not have to be a difficult part of the interview process.  

Additional Resources for Negotiating Salary:

Salary Negotiation Tips -

Salary Wizard -

Negotiation Salary Letter -  

Source: The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, 2009-2010,© 2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies. “Adapted” with permission of the publisher. No part of this article may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.

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